Nine tips for your coronavirus “break”

By Nathan Cohen

Overworked, overscheduled, and overwhelmed. While these traits have long characterized the student experience at South High, the onset of the coronavirus has brought this hectic lifestyle to a sudden halt. With no clubs, sports, or performances, many students find they have traded exhaustion and stress for a state of perpetual boredom. But your time off from school  doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, by making good use of your time, your coronavirus “vacation” can become a blessing that is simultaneously relaxing and productive. Here are nine suggestions to achieve just that.

  1. Go for a bike ride. Lucky for us, school’s temporary closure comes just at the start of spring. With longer days and warmer weather, it is truly the perfect time to get on your bike. Better yet, biking is a great way to get out of the house while still staying distant from large swathes of people.
  2. Go for a walk. It is impossible to spend all day sitting and staring at your iPad without losing focus. When you inevitably do lose your focus, there is no better way to reset yourself than going for a walk. In my experience a walk is a great way to relax your mind and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Additionally, a walk can be an opportunity to catch up with your siblings or parents, all of whom will likely also need a break from staying inside.
  3. Complete bucket-list projects. Everyone has something they would like to do but just never could. Whether this be learning the guitar, building a website, or finally organizing your room, now is the perfect time to get it done.
  4. Learn interesting things for pleasure. While learning to pass a test is a generally dull task, learning for the joy of knowledge is anything but that. From researching the treaties that determine the Canadian border, to watching a video on the workings of space-time, to reading articles about the prehistoric civilizations of central America, there is little that can beat immersing yourself in fascinating and fun facts. My suggested sources: YouTube and Wikipedia.
  5. Get ahead on schoolwork. We all have experienced the genuine misery of staying up all night to finish an assignment we’d barely started. While these are sometimes the result of procrastination, often they are simply due to a lack of time. With our current excess of time, however, we finally have the ability to get way ahead on upcoming assignments. If we take advantage of this opportunity, we can greatly curb the number of late nights for the remainder of the year, allowing for more sleep and better mental health.
  6. Don’t waste time on your phone. Without a busy schedule that demands constant productivity, it can be easy to waste your day away by sleeping in or spending hours on your phone. But while time doing nothing can be a nice treat for a few days, it surely doesn’t make for a healthy lifestyle. For many, this time is not even enjoyable but rather an alluring distraction to stimulate the bored mind. To avoid falling into that trap, I suggest setting a hard limit on phone time, setting an alarm, and/or possibly making yourself a schedule. Together, these techniques can put hours back into your day.
  7. Cook something. The most common reason people choose not to cook is that it is too time-consuming. However, without the time crunch of school, students can embrace the kitchen and cook up some fantastic dishes. Feeling tired of a Chips Ahoy dessert? Then consider baking up some fresh chocolate chip cookies. Want Chipotle but also want to abide by social distancing? Consider preparing homemade burritos for dinner. With the fun of being a chef and the reward of a good meal, there is no reason not to cook during the break.
  8. Play a board game with your family. Board games are too often designated as an elementary school activity, but board games can be just as much fun for everyone else. Find your family members and get competitive with some old classics, from Clue to Scrabble to Battleships. Want something a little more strategic? Consider playing Chess or Othello. Recommended for a rainy day, board games are a great way to have some fun in the house.
  9. Spend time with your friends virtually. Just because there is a pandemic, doesn’t mean you can’t see your friends — it’s merely that you shouldn’t see them in person. Luckily, modern technology can allow you to easily catch up with your friends from the comfort of your phone. While catching up works great with traditional calling and texting, it can be even more lifelike thanks to video-chatting apps like FaceTime or Skype. Regardless of the method, virtual hang-outs can be a great way to socialize while simultaneously enjoying the comfort of your own home.